During the State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to enact legislation guaranteeing that women and men receive equal pay for equal work. “I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year,” he said.  

I agree that this legislation would be a huge step towards addressing the gender wage gap. In the meantime, there are strategies that we can implement as individuals to increase our wages. A Washington Post salary survey reported that “women ask for raises or promotions 85 percent less often than their male counterparts.”

Putting salary negotiation techniques into practice is more important now than ever. I will feature some of these tips and tricks in a short series of blog posts.

There are many barriers women face to salary negotiation – and when I conduct workshops on the topic for women of all ages and professions, their concerns are echoed in room after room: fear of rejection or being perceived as too greedy/assertive/arrogant, not knowing their worth or market rate, not knowing how to present a counter offer, and simply feeling grateful for the job offer.

One of the most effective tools for salary negotiation is to delay talking about money. Stall, stall, and stall some more. Why? The first person who talks money loses. You potentially run the risk of shortchanging yourself by quoting a figure that is too low and you might get screened out of the hiring process if you quote a figure too high.

Here are some potential ways to handle the question about your salary requirements the next time you’re interviewing for a job:

  1. I’m happy to discuss salary at a later point – right now, I’m interested to hear more about the position and how I could be an asset to your team.
  2. I would consider any fair and reasonable salary.
  3. I would be happy to discuss salary if presented with a job offer.
  4. My salary is negotiable. What salary range do you have in mind?

The point is to delay talking about money until you actually receive a job offer, as you’re in the best bargaining position when the employer wants you to accept.